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Latest Drone Strike Leaves Three U.S. Troops Dead and 34 Injured

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The drone strike on a U.S. troops base in the Middle East has claimed the lives of three American soldiers and left 34 others injured. The attack, carried out using a one-way attack drone, highlights the growing threat faced by U.S. service members stationed in the region.

Iranian-backed militias have launched over 150 attacks since October 17 on bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria. The majority of these attacks involved rockets and one-way attack drones, with most drone attempts being successfully intercepted. The recent strike took place at a logistics support base in Jordan, near the Syrian border, where approximately 350 Army and Air Force personnel are stationed to support anti-ISIS efforts. The wounded, including eight individuals evacuated from Jordan for advanced medical care, are reported to be in stable condition, though the number of casualties may change as more troops seek medical attention.

President Joe Biden expressed condolences on Sunday, stating that the nation’s “heart is heavy” in the aftermath of the deadly attack. He pledged to hold those responsible accountable, promising retaliation “at a time and in a manner of our choosing.” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin echoed the sentiment, specifically pointing to Iran-backed militias as responsible for the continued assaults on U.S. forces.

The concern among U.S. officials has been the potential for a well-aimed attack, often referred to as a “golden BB,” that could breach the defenses protecting bases from incoming threats. Recent attacks have seen an increase in sophistication, with militants launching ballistic missiles at the al-Asad air base in western Iraq on January 20, resulting in traumatic brain injuries for four U.S. troops.

In response, the Pentagon conducted airstrikes targeting elements of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the entity responsible for training and equipping militant groups across the Middle East.

The common thread in these attacks appears to be support from Iran, extending beyond assaults on U.S. troops to the targeting of commercial shipping in the Red Sea by Houthi militants. The situation has raised concerns about potential escalation and retaliation.

Javed Ali, a former senior U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence official, anticipates a significant escalation in the coming days. Despite the Biden administration’s public stance against seeking war with Iranian-backed groups or Iran itself, the recent attack may prompt a strong and lethal response in the region.

While some members of Congress have criticized the administration’s response to Iran, calling for swift action, others have expressed broader concerns about U.S. military operations in the region. A bipartisan group of senators recently sent a letter to the White House, cautioning against continued operations against the Yemen-based Houthis, another Iranian proxy group.

As tensions escalate, questions about the need for congressional approval for future military actions in the region have emerged. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires consultation with Congress before engaging in hostilities, emphasizing the constitutional mandate for congressional approval.

As the U.S. assesses the situation and plans its response, the recent drone attack underscores the complex and volatile nature of the geopolitical landscape in the Middle East.

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